The 2.5 litre four is far more reliable than the 3.0 litre six. I worked for a taxi company in the 1990s that had a whole fleet of these Acclaim/Spirits bought from rental car companies. The 2.5s were fantastic, the 3.0's usually had a LOT of transmission troubles as well as smoked.
I have a 1994 Acclaim we use for commuting. I found it in 2005 with only 38K miles on it as it was a U.S. Government car. The paint issue results from bad primer used in the 1990's and run causes it to peel. I had mine painted from the pin stripe up and is very presentable. We have put almost 30K on it and I really like the simplicity of the car. I have mostly replaced routine stuff like brakes, tires, shocks, struts. It does use coolant, but don't see leaks and had compression checked so does not seem to have bad head gasket. It is not super fast, but is very perky for the 100 horse power. I also find this base model pretty comfortable because it does not have center console that take up so much space in today's cars. I plan on keeping this car until it dies and hope to get at least another 75K out of it. Email me at email@example.com if you know why the temp gauge is erratic at times and looses coolant level over a 6 week span.
The issue with the temp gauge is not a problem if you find it is only doing it till the fluid all warms up. It is the coolant temp causing the gauge to wander. Again, if it stops after a while, you do not have a problem.